Confor demands reversal of FSC rejection of UKWAS

10 November 2016

Confor is demanding that FSC International reverses its rejection of the revised UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS).

“UKWAS is the second oldest FSC national standard in the world and has been developed in an open and consensual process”, said Confor’s Technical Director Andrew Heald. “It has been regularly updated in that same consensual process and, uniquely thus far, it has been endorsed by both FSC and PEFC. This rejection by FSC International of the agreed position of a wide range of UK stakeholders is unacceptable and needs to be reversed quickly if the FSC is not to damage its reputation with the forestry sector in the UK.”

The latest revision of the UKWAS was developed by a revision team including representatives from the UK forest industry, as well as the RSPB and the Woodland Trust. There have been three rounds of open public consultation and the work was overseen by a Steering Group with over 30 members representing everyone from forest workers and land owner organisations like the CLA, to the National Trust, Forestry Commission and WWF.

Andrew Heald said “This rejection is baffling on many levels, particularly as FSC International’s strategy is calling for more locally adapted solutions and to focus on outcomes of forest management, and that’s just what we’ve done with this revision. Specifically, we have tried to make the document user friendly so that any forest manager can pick up the standard and easily understand what is required and how they can achieve it.”

“Confor is speaking to FSC International’s Directors and asking them to review this decision urgently. It is essential that Certification standards reflect local realities, a one size fits all standard for the whole world just won’t work.”